Amidst budget woes across campus, rumors of cuts in the mobile learning initiative have surfaced.
Initially, local media outlets reported that the program would stop giving incoming freshman iPhones and iPods beginning in 2012.
Director of Educational Innovation and associate professor of English Bill Rankin, said this story is not true. He said the program has not decided if they will stop the distribution of the devices in the future.
“It is not 100 percent guaranteed that we will stop. First, we need to assess what is going on with students,” Rankin said. “We may be able to do other things with the initiative.”
Rankin said there will be a meeting in mid-December during which important decisions will be made.
President Phil Schubert also said there will not be any changes made until 2013.
“For fall of 2012, nothing will be different.”
When the mobile learning initiative began, most students did not have access to these types of devices. Rankin said the idea was to be able to provide students with these mobile devices. Now 40 percent of students already own one when they come to the university.
Rankin said the university has striven to provide students with access to the latest technology.
“Back before computers were widespread, the university provided tons of computer labs,” Rankin said. “Then at a certain point every student had a computer with them, so the expense didn’t make sense anymore.”
Schubert said he believes the investment in devices needs to be reconsidered, but the mission of the mobile learning initiative will stay the same.
“This will not change the focus of our mobile learning efforts to innovate the classroom and provide a more rich learning environment.”
Whatever the decision is, Rankin said the initiative will continue to move forward and continue its advancements in enriching education at ACU.
“We continue to be excited about what we are discovering. We really see ourselves as completing the first stage of many in the program,” Rankin said. “We are not pulling back on this initiative, simply moving forward.”